Settlement Reached On Florida’s Parental Rights In Education Act

Florida education officials and civil rights activists settled on Monday regarding Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’ (R) 2022 Parental Rights in Education Act, clarifying how teachers and students discuss LGBT topics in the classroom.

Nicknamed the “Don’t Say Gay” bill by leftists, critics of the bill claimed that it infringed on the rights of LGBT teachers and students, resulting in advocates suing the state. The settlement agreement clarified the bill’s language, better stating what is allowed to be taught and mentioned in the classroom.

Roberta Kaplan, the lead attorney representing several parents, teachers, and advocacy groups, called the settlement a win, better defining what is allowed and not allowed in the classroom.

“Simply put, the State of Florida has now made it clear that LGBTQ+ kids, parents, and teachers in Florida can, in fact, say that they are gay,” said Kaplan.

When the bill was first signed into law, many teachers were unsure if they could display photos or mention their significant other if they were a part of the LGBT community. They were also left confused about which types of musicals the school could perform.

“What this settlement does, is, it re-establishes the fundamental principle, that I hope all Americans agree with, which is every kid in this country is entitled to an education at a public school where they feel safe, their dignity is respected and where their families and parents are welcomed,” Kaplan said. “This shouldn’t be a controversial thing.”

The Florida Department of Education announced that it would send out a memo to all Florida school districts clarifying that the law does not ban all LGBT topics or individuals in the classroom and requires neutrality when discussing gender identity.

DeSantis also saw the settlement as a victory, calling it a “major win,” allowing parents to still have a right to determine what their children are exposed to.

“We fought hard to ensure this law couldn’t be maligned in court, as it was in the public arena by the media and large corporate actors,” said Ryan Newman, an attorney for the state of Florida. “We are victorious, and Florida’s classrooms will remain a safe place under the Parental Rights in Education Act.”

The bill originally became law in May 2022 to protect children in kindergarten through the third grade from being exposed to gender ideology. It was expanded to include all grades last year. Since its inception, other states have followed, including Alabama, Arkansas, Indiana, Iowa Kentucky and North Carolina.

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